Male factor infertility can be easily diagnosed with a semen analysis.
An abnormal sperm count can suggest male factor as the cause of the couple’s infertility.
Semen Analysis Results
Our previous two articles introduced readers to the basic concepts of a semen analysis:
Most men will have a normal semen analysis; however, some men will have decreased or abnormal sperm. In general, when sperm are created they take six months to mature and develop before they are released to fertilize an egg. If a single sperm count is abnormal it could be a transient reflection of what happened six month before at a single point in time.
Any abnormal semen analysis should be repeated to confirm the sperm count is truly abnormal.
Abnormal Sperm Count Recommendations
If a sperm count is abnormal infertility experts recommend a repeat semen analysis several months after the first test. This will give a more complete picture of sperm production and should more conclusively demonstrate if there is a sperm problem.
If abnormal semen production exists there could be many different reasons:
• Childhood testicular problem, i.e. un-descended testes or hernia surgery
• Chronic medical illness, i.e. Lupus, diabetes, etc
• Testicular or prostate infections
• Surgical damage, i.e. vasectomy, hernia or groin surgery
• Recreational drug exposure or alcohol consumption
• Environmental exposures, radiation therapy, pesticides, toxic chemicals
• Elevated hormonal levels, i.e. increased prolactin hormone levels
• Anabolic steroid usage
Recommendations When A Sperm Count Is Abnormal
If an abnormality is discovered, we recommend assessing yourself for any of the problems listed above and repeating a semen analysis in several months. Should abnormalities persist then you should consult with a urologist for further evaluation.
Semen Testing And Tubal Ligation Reversal
The tubal ligation reversal experts at Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center would like to maximize a patient’s chance of pregnancy after ligation reversal. One important factor is the presence or absence of male factor infertility. Most men will not have a sperm problem and we do not require routine semen testing before tubal reversal.
A simple preoperative semen analysis will help evaluate for male factor problems related to semen production and we do recommend men consider this test prior to tubal reversal if they have not previously fathered children.